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Likelihood (eikos, versimilis) captures the idea that something is likely to happen or to have happened. As a formal concept, it has appeared in jurisprudence, commerce and scholasticism long before it was given a rigorous mathematical foundation.
In statistics, a likelihood function is a function of the parameters of a statistical model, defined as follows: the likelihood of a set of parameter values given some observed outcomes is equal to the probability of those observed outcomes given those parameter values. Likelihood functions play a key role in statistical inference, especially methods of estimating a parameter using statistics (a function of the data).
- James Franklin (2001), The Science of Conjecture: Evidence and Probability before Pascal, The Johns Hopkins University Press, ISBN 0-8018-7109-3
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